I honestly feel like all I do is wash clothes. My washing machine is constantly spinning – either I have a very dirty family or my Beko is a Pete Burns fan. I’m sure if the folks at Npower gave me an itemised bill it would confirm that 90 per cent of my bill was because of the old Joe Swash-ing machine.

I suppose daily loads are just part and parcel of having little kiddiewinkles running around. When I first bought the old, mini Laundromat it was a blessing: he had several fast spin options, an A+ rating and a drum bigger than my behind after a two-week all-inclusive in Benidorm. He could swallow up all those cherryade stained T-shirts and grass-stained pants.

Recently, though, I couldn’t shake the feeling that he’s been making his own dirty protest with a dip in his performance. Well, I wouldn’t even call it a dip, rather I think he’s been stealing from me.

I’m very particular about making sure socks go in the wash together. I go to great pains to ensure one of them doesn’t go off travelling solo. Sometimes I’ve even had one that mysteriously ends up folded with one that clearly isn’t its partner – usually an old, worn one that’s attached itself to a much newer, younger sock, no doubt with promises of an expensive brogue to live in, or a bank-breaking, super fast trainer they can race around the town in.

All of a sudden my socks found themselves ‘dumped’. All their other halves were starting to disappear and I began suspecting that the dumpers had organised a 18-30 holiday because I couldn’t find a matching pair no matter how hard I tried. Then, to add insult to injury, the dryer got in the action. When I did find a matching pair in Beko post wash, old Aquarius starting nicking them as well. I couldn’t win.

My mood had slipped dramatically – if I had to squeeze into the kids’ socks or pair up a walking sock with a paper-thin trainer thing again I was going to burst into tears. Searching for help on the internet I discovered that scientists had even created a ‘sock loss formula’ (seriously!). It reads: (L(p x f) + C(t x s)) – (P x A)

It’s something to do with load size times sock age blah, blah – far too sophisticated for someone like me who genuinely thought a poltergeist was responsible. I only abandoned the theory when someone explained that ghosts couldn’t/don’t need to keep their tootsies warm.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, Beko had finally sucked up as many socks and suds as he could handle and died on me. He’d decided that he wanted to retire to the country i.e. the back garden amongst a bed of weeds while feral cats took shelter in his drum. The kicker? I never did find the missing socks. I find solace in the hope that somewhere a millipede has cushioned, warm soles. I’m sure they’ll reappear in a few years, so for now I’ll hold on to the single pairs, I hear they’re having an awesome time mingling anyway.